Dynamic Aquaria (Fourth Edition) - Chapter 13: Community structure: Biodiversity in model ecosystems

Elsevier, Dynamic Aquaria, Fourth Edition: Building and Restoring Ecosystems and the Biosphere, 2024, pp 167-180
Walter H. Adey

Assuming that high-quality water (appropriate for the ecosystem in question) is obtained (by ATS or other means), there is no fixed number of species to be expected in a high-veracity ecosystem model. If the modeling methodologies we describe in this book are employed, then species numbers will lie somewhere between those of a wild area (patch) that equals the model and the global ecosystem. If continual injections of species are allowed into the model (as they are to patches in the wild), species diversity may indeed be higher in a model than in the typical hectare/acre-size wild system that would be used as an analog. The prime analytic difficulty in determining species number (both in the wild and in an ecosystem model) has been the large number of taxonomic specialists required to make a definitive statement of diversity. Also, if an array of specialists were to be available, extreme efforts would be required to keep the disturbance of collecting and analyzing from defining the model itself. This problem can be corrected by use of barcoding eDNA analysis. Most successful microcosms and mesocosms will include hundreds to thousands of species. Ultimately, however, the test of success is not likely to be species diversity but rather trophic structure—the number of species maintaining populations in food webs that characterize the wild analog.